VCU replaces traditional tailgating party

March 5, 2012

By Heather Riekers
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. –For six years, VCU students have celebrated before the homecoming basketball game at the tailgating party called Chill n’ Grill in the VV parking lot, located at the corner of Harrison Street and Floyd Avenue on the Monroe Park campus.

Last year 2,500 people attended the event that had live music, spirit contests and barbeque. Afterwards, participants walked to the men’s basketball homecoming game at the Siegel Center. Chill n’ Grill was also the only formal homecoming event that allowed alcohol.

The event was not on the schedule of homecoming events this year, but not because of the drinking. The VV parking lot is now a construction site, to build the new social work building, so the event was replaced with a new one, “Rams on a Rage.”

“Rams on a Rage” took place Feb. 4 in the Commons Plaza. Because of the location change, the event was alcohol free.

Carolyn Whittier, Associate Director for Programs and Educational Services at VCU, said the event cannot have alcohol present because the Commons is not contained within a fence, like the VV parking lot was, so it can’t be licensed. Whittier said the event change could be considered as an opportunity for the VCU community.

“Really, it’s kind of as though Chill n Grill is returning to its original intention, which is about getting excited about the game, not about getting excited about drinking in a parking lot,” Whittier said.

At “Rams on a Rage” it started raining just as the event began, so all of the scheduled outside activities shut down early and students moved inside to the Commons. Compared to last year’s Chill n’ Grill, the turnout was relatively small, with about 300 people in attendance.

Andrew Arias, a VCU Sports Medicine sophomore, said that he missed not having Chill n’ Grill this year.

“Last year was really fun, I got to meet a lot of people and this year, they just didn’t advertise it. I was unaware that there was anything going on,” Arias said.

Whittier said that Chill n’ Grill, or an event like it, could return if an appropriate venue is found that will be contained, like the parking lot was, to be able to allow alcohol.